Guaranty Bank & Trust building

Workers of David Smith Construction Inc. apply new mortar joints to brick Tuesday as part of the Greenwood’s Guaranty Bank & Trust Company’s reconstruction project.

Those involved in a reconstruction project at a downtown Greenwood business also are focused on protecting the historical significance of its building.

The Greenwood branch of Guaranty Bank & Trust Co., 122 Howard St., is being revamped both inside and out.

The reconstruction project for the historic building, located at the corner of Howard and West Market streets, involves Adrenaline Agency, a design firm with offices in Atlanta and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and Belinda Stewart Architects, a Eupora-based firm that specializes in historic preservation, among other things.  

David Smith Construction Inc. of Inverness is carrying out the actual reconstruction work.

“We’re really excited about the project. We’re glad we’re able to do this and serve the Greenwood community,” said Myra Dunlap, senior vice president of Guaranty Bank, who works in Belzoni.

Dunlap said some of the work being done includes repairing the mortar joints of bricks, known as repointing, on the outside of the building and constructing glass offices with sliding glass doors inside.

Only the first floor will be redesigned, said Holly Hawkins, an architect at Belinda Stewart.

“The Guaranty Bank is part of the downtown historic district. It’s a historic building,” she said. “As part of the team, we did an investigation to see what material was still there to figure out how the redesign of the interior space could work for the user and show off the historic character of the space while feeling new.”

During a tour of the building’s interior Tuesday, Eddie Muse, a construction superintendent from David Smith, explained some of that “historic character.”

For example, there’s the white, glazed brick, which Muse said workers will be refurbishing as well as the marble walls.

What really catches the eye, however, Muse said, are the carved statues of women connected to the wall.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” Dunlap said. “We’ll have the glass walls in the offices so the statues can still be visible.”

Guaranty Bank & Trust

One of the interesting historical aspects of the Guaranty Bank & Trust building that will be maintained is the group of wall statues of women, located in the interior of the bank.

The construction project, currently in its second week, should take about 10 weeks to complete, Muse said.

Because the building is in a historic district, Hawkins said, the architects and the current owners  approached the city’s Historic Preservation Commission earlier this year to go over their plans.

The Rev. Calvin Collins, a member of the commission and pastor of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church, said the point of the commission is to ensure the renovation of a historic building preserves its “integrity.”

“You don’t want to destroy history; you want to add to history,” he said.

According to Main Street Greenwood, the corner street building was constructed in 1917 for the Wilson Banking Company, eventually closing during the Great Depression. The building then housed Leflore Bank and Trust Company and then  Deposit Guaranty until it was closed in the 1980s.

Planters Bank and Trust Company restored the building in 1997. Guaranty Bank has operated out of the building since early 2018.

• Contact Gerard Edic at 581-7239 or gedic@gwcommonwealth.com.

The original version of this article had an incorrect date for when Planters Bank and Trust Company restored the building.

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